One of the most important things to know when buying a preowned vehicle is the VIN check. VIN provides a lot of important information regarding the car that you are considering buying. With the VIN serial, you can know the history of a car, when it was built, where it was built, and how many owners it had before it ended up in your consideration. VINs are 17 digit alphanumeric codes that are assigned to every vehicle in the United States after the 1950s.
The code can be decoded to figure out a vehicle’s place of manufacture, time of manufacture, as well as details regarding engine displacement, necessary safety equipment, and much more. Think of A VIN like a social security number that provides secrets about a car and its history. Was the vehicle severely damaged? Did it have any flood damage? Was it stolen? Were there any recalls or service bulletins that required attention?
A VIN check is imperative to ensure you are getting a vehicle that’s adequately priced in most cases. In addition, things like the title can tell you whether your car is salvage or a branded titled one.
Free VIN Checks
VIN checks usually cost around 20-40$, but some of the information you can get for free. When you are willing to pay a modest fee, some companies provide you with in-depth information on your VIN check. They end up gathering data from several sources once you enter your VIN number and credit card information. Sites like these will collect a lot of important information in a matter of seconds. Here are two examples:
National Insurance Crime Bureau
The first one is the National Insurance Crime Bureau that offers free VIN checks to determine whether the vehicle in question was reported stolen or damaged enough to issue a salvage title. NICB also offers up to five free VIN checks from a single IP address within a day but uses data that have been supplied by car insurance companies which may sometimes prevent the information from being accurate. NCIB shows you these reports:
- If the car has been reported stolen or lost
- Whether the vehicle is salvaged or not
- If the car has been declared as a total loss following the events of an accident
The second free option on the list is vehicle history. It has the freest information available. Vehicle History provides data that include things like safety ratings, recalls, original specifications, and warranty information. This VIN provider also includes other pieces of information like safety equipment details, user reviews, fuel economy, and additional information regarding sales of similar cars in our area. It allows for a more comprehensive report, a complete VIN lookup providing you with information like cost to own and price analysis.
- Things that the Vehicle report shows you include but are not limited to:
- Selling history of the vehicle
- Current recall information
- A detailed list of the different expiration dates of manufacturer warranties
- Price predictions about the best time to buy a particular model
Paid VIN Checks
The paid checks are one of the only ways to get a complete list of information on a vehicle’s past. When you know everything about a vehicle’s history, it saves you the future cost that you might need to bear on repairs which as to why paying for VIN checks is a wise investment. While the free VIN checks will provide you with the major warning signs, the paid ones will get you almost all the valuable details you might need to buy a preowned vehicle.
3 of the best VIN check reports currently for the price are AutoCheck, Carfax, and BADVIN. They provide all the information that the free sites offer whale, also adding things like recall history, thefts, crashes, flood and fire damage, and detailed reports on the vehicle, including a description of the vehicle’s overall evaluation. In addition, these VIN lookups go into granular details. Hail damage information, whether the car had been leased in the past or if it had been used as a police vehicle. Any evidence of an odometer rollback.
It has two options; one is free and provides you with very basic information like where th4e car was manufactured, the model, and the country. However, the paid version provides detailed information about all the things one might need to know, as mentioned above. It also gives a numerical rating or score for your vehicle so you can compare it against others. The paid ones cost 25$ for a single report, and you can pay 50$ to get 25 reports within 21 days. For 300 reports you can pay 100$.
Carfax is one of the top contenders and is a partner of U.S. News which means that you can get a free report on many vehicles through the listings. A single report costs 40$, and for five reports, you can pay 60$. There’s also a package of six available for 100$.
Badvin is relatively new compared to AutoCheck and Carfax however is the cheapest on the list and provides good value. They provide sales history and maintenance records of vehicles and allows you to see recent sales data, including prices, car condition, photos, owner numbers, and odometer readings or potential odometer rollbacks, and more. In addition, the primary report only goes for 3$ while the premium one costs 5$, which is very cheap when you compare it to Carfax or AutoCheck.